Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In no particular order...*updated*

We've been planning to refinance our house as part of our focus on getting out of debt, and nothing makes you see how much your house has been neglected as when visitors come and stay with you.

It's our choice to neglect things, since we are paying down debts first rather than buying nice things first, but the when Rick and Sunny were here I caught myself saying things like, "Sorry about the breaking table and chairs... they were from the thrift store and have been well used.  We hope to buy new ones someday."

Then it never seemed to stop! When we wanted them to step precariously through our savage backyard to the swings, we said, "sorry about the chicken poop covering the back porch ... we hope to build a new chicken coop and fence to keep them off the back porch."

Then there was, "sorry- I'll just have to dig you guys out some cups....the dishwasher has been broken for months so we only have one cup for each of us", and, "oh- does the fireplace look the same as your last visit years ago?  We still hope to finish it someday...", and, "yes, the water from the kitchen sink is dripping through that gap in the counters and down into the wall... we hope to get a new one-piece counter top soon so that won't happen anymore", and, "sorry about all the mud", (it had been raining a TON), "we hope to buy more rocks for our road someday to decrease that", and speaking of mud (and ash and general grossness), "sorry about the disgusting carpet...", and regarding their kids getting covered in mud in the sand-box pool, "sorry about the rain water spilling into the sandbox", and, "please forgive the big stains where you sit down on the couch...some of our kids didn't know that water and leather don't mix" (or paint and leather, or barf and leather, etc.), and, "yes that hose just leaks constantly... we don't look forward to tearing our our shower to go into the wall and fix it, but we hope to someday...", etc.  Either before or during their visit, there were problems with our refrigerator , our washer and dryer, and embarrassment over not having a nice bedroom set and having a very dirty van with almost 200,000 miles on it... it just never seemed to end, which is weird because I really love my house and where I live. 

And it's not like Rick and Sunny were judging us.  They are the most understanding brother and sister ever.  It's just when we looked at this situation through others eyes it suddenly seemed a lot worse.

So the good news is we have invested in a new living room floor!  Gone is the nasty carpet!  We have to worry about scratches and wetness, but are glad that we'll be able to sweep up wood ash and fireplace mess.  Maybe it'll even help with the refinance.  Isn't it lovely?!  It has been a huge undertaking and it's not over yet, since the installers stepped on glue and left tracks and now we're wondering if they'll give us discount or have to come re-do 1/3 or the floor.  I am dreading that, because we've been living with all our furniture in the kitchen and bedrooms, but we paid for a floor without glue tracks.  This is part of why we paid installers.  Everyone said it's easy and to do it ourselves, but then they also tell stories of buckling boards and agonizing days of going back over it and trying to get it right.  We just don't have the time for all of that.  Yet here we are...

We also broke down and bought a new table and chairs from Costco because ours only seated 6, so for some months one of us has had to share a seat.  Plus the fact that the old set was mismatched, dirty, and breaking.  Wish we had done this before Rick and Sunny came, but we were just too busy.  We love the 9 piece set we bought.  It's counter height and will work great for many things, though it does take up a lot more room and it seems to scratch if you look at it the wrong way.  Pat labored hard to assemble it all and two of the eight chairs were defective, so we had to go back to the store and exchange them for two more...aagghh!

On the subject of money, say goodbye to this boy...

...and say Hello to this one!  Look who just got braces!!!!  He loved his new look, until last night when he couldn't eat and was in a lot of pain.  He got through the procedure really well though and we hope he'll feel better in a couple of days.  We got him lots of soft foods. *Update: He couldn't bite down in the back because his top front teeth were hitting the front bottom brackets, so I had to take him in today and they put glue on his back teeth to chew on since his molars don't meet and they say this is temporary until they can move his top front teeth out.  I think this is strange because he has an overbite already so they say and now they're trying to bring his front teeth more out!?  I don't like this at all, but am trying to trust them.  So now when he chews with his back teeth, he'll really only be chewing with glue.

The boys took this picture last night because they were busting up that Charlie was copying me. I love Charlie.  He is a master of Wan doo (I don't want to!).  When I tell him he has to take a nap (or anything he doesn't like), he pouts and says, "Wan doo!".  Unfortunately for him, I am a master of Haf doo.

That moment when you almost sprinkle Benefiber on your spaghetti instead of Parmesian.

I finally finished the Pathway program, earning 15 college credits in this last year and probably continuing online through BYU-I.  I am waiting to hear if they'll accept any of my former credits. I want a degree, but I like to do things thoughtfully and it's so hard when we have so many other priorities.  I might only take one class a semester and take 8 years to finish. By the way, I probably could not have done this without Pat.  He helped me so much to understand things and helped with all the computer stuff.  I am so lame with computers.

Pat made us all go to a baseball game to celebrate.  Actually this was free tickets for his work night and we had a good night hanging out with all his work friends though I really did not want to go.  I need a break so bad and am hanging by a thin thread of sanity.  I feel like Pat's always at work or gone for a variety of other reasons and I just love it when we're home for the weekend with nowhere to go.  I wished I had a "Get out of one activity free" card.  Sometimes nothing else matters when it comes to Pat and baseball though and he begs me to come 'cause I'm so awesome.

The Dukes (Albuquerque) were playing the Sacramento River Cats which is affiliated with the Giants.  Pat was wearing his Giants hat, and both he and Sam brought gloves to the game and the River Cats threw them three balls!!  We might have been the only ones there rooting for them *smile*

This is the final score of the final Water Polo game.  Dallas' team lost and got 2nd place which isn't too bad for all of Albuquerque!  The age was 11-14 years of age.  There were some games so evenly matched that we were all gripping the bars and screaming and freaking out for the entire game.  I am really proud of Dallas since he was new and it was hard.  He is a much better swimmer now and we hope he can do even better next year.  I played water polo in high school and I forgot how much fun a good game is.  These kids had amazing talent and each game was brutally fought. 

A break to contemplate stacking all this wood.  Okay.

Wanted to get this book and maybe train for a triathalon with my kids.  A kid one.

Trip with my friend Kristie and her kids to the zoo before she has her 11th baby!

Friendly monkey above, and friendly peacock below.
While we were at the zoo, Sam tried to fit between two very close cement walls and ended up getting his head completely stuck.  For 25 minutes that seemed like an hour we tried to get him out, first me, then zoo staff, then concerned citizens.  I wanted to scream and break down the wall.  The claustrophobia was killing me.  I was really scared and helpless, but somehow remained really calm and just talked soothingly to Sam as we tried to loosen him.  His head was angled up and both ears were smashed flat against the stucco and we could not get him to budge in any direction.  You'd think if he got in he could get out right?  But he was solid and immovable.  I considered yanking him, but knew it could break his neck the way he was wedged in.  People were gathering around trying to help, each taking a turn to try and move Sam up or down or tilting his head in any direction.  One lady was really wonderful and kept asking him questions and I later asked her if she was an ER nurse and she said, "No, I've just been stuck in a lot of weird situations like this in my life."  Sam was super upset and we were all just trying to keep him calm while the paramedics came, though I knew there was nothing they could do either.  Nor was there anyway to saw or sledge hammer the wall down.  It was really terrifying. The zoo staff said another kid got stuck the same way a month earlier and showed me the scrapes on the wall where they had to chisel him out. Then for no apparent reason, right as the paramedics walked up, Sam was able to move back out the way he came in.  All the emotions I had been holding back to remain calm came out and we cried and held each other.  All happened before my friend and her kids got there.  So as soon as the paramedics checked him out and left, Kristie strolled up and we were off to see the zoo as if nothing had happened. It was so weird.  Sam was really shaken up for a while though, and one zoo security officer felt it would help if he lectured Sam to never go in there and do that again.  As if he was that stupid.  It was humiliating for Sam.  I just smiled and nodded while thinking, "This guy must not have any kids."

Charles wanting to be like his swimming brothers.  Sam and Evan will most likely be in the swim and water polo teams next year.  They've been doing great at their lessons.

The swim season has come to an end and I am sad and happy.  Sad that I won't get to connect with friends as we hang out at the pool for hours each day, happy to have a break and get ready for school.  The water polo tournament fell the same week as my finals so I was stressed out and got sick.  We had to be at the pool hours every morning and then at the tournament pool hours each night and fit homework into all of that.  I have many things to do for my calling and personal stuff to catch up on.  I am a person who needs space to be with myself and center (like a child misses their blanket).  Otherwise I get wound tighter and tighter.

...sorry if this post seems to complain a lot.  I feel the weight of many things right now. 

I'm trying...

Monday, July 27, 2015

San Isabel Scout Ranch

This summer our troop decided to travel a bit further than normal and we went up to San Isabel Scout Ranch in Colorado.  It is almost a five hour drive from our home town to get there so we went up on on Saturday so we didn't have leave really early on Monday or travel on Sunday. We were in charge of our meals for dinner, breakfast and lunch from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon. We had hamburgers for dinner, eggs and sausage for breakfast, and tuna sandwiches for lunch. We went to church at the Rye Ward in Rye Colorado and it was a very nice service. There were two other troops from the camp (both from Texas) that were also attending the ward with us.  The people were very friendly and the classes were a lot of fun.  I was preparing for my speaking assignment all week for the Sunday right after we got home and I got a ton of good insights through all of church. We shared our campsite with a different troop from Texas that also had only a few boys at camp and we got along great, sharing our evening together around the campfire.

The camp was beautiful. Everyone's favorite feature was the lake. When free time was available our boys were either boating or fishing, although the boys never caught anything which was a great disappointment to both of us leaders on the trip who were looking forward to lots of trout to eat. The lake was quite cold and there were several accidents where some boys might have accidentally ended up in the water because of a "clumsy" scoutmaster.

Dallas took Environmental Science, Emergency Preparedness, Canoeing, and Astronomy.  He earned all the merit badges except Astronomy and that was because it was cloudy every night and we didn't actually get to see starts while we were there.

The weather was nice and we only got serious rain on one day while we were there.  For the most part it never got too hot or too cold.

The evening programs that we participated in were a scout honor trail with chapel service at the end, a cardboard boat race, our own troop campfire with skits and songs in our campsite, the OA ceremony for camp which also celebrated 100 years of OA, and the closing campfire for the camp with our boys doing a small skit. During the closing campfire there were a couple acts that stood out, a band the staff had formed with a banjo, mandolin, and a guitar, and a flag retirement ceremony that was nicely done to close the campfire.

*Karisa had to care for the four youngest kids while Dallas and I were away for over a week.  She had a heavy load of Pathway homework, swimming in the mornings and evenings, as well as teaching her Pathway class Thursday night with all the kids in tow.  To say she was relieved when we got home would be an understatement.  We went on a date to the temple that night.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Visiting Cousins

The Monday after the 4th my brother stopped by for a couple of nights while moving his car from California to Texas.  It's always fun to have him and his family stop by.  My brother spent a few years in the navy as a nuclear engineer and an officer and got to travel all over the world on various ships.  He spent the last couple of years at MIT and just graduated with a dual Masters in business and mechanical engineering.  He got a job down in Texas in a manufacturing plant.  We're really happy for him as he starts this new stage of life and really proud of all he and his wife have accomplished over the last few years.

Leia has just gotten used to the idea of cousins and extended family so it was nice to reinforce that with a couple of girls her age coming to play. Since they were only here for one day we had to pack as much into that as possible.  We launched rockets around lunch time, after Sam got back from his swim lesson.  Evan had helped all three cousins build their rockets the night before.  They were all successful except for Evan's military type rocket he'd built all weekend.  On the first launch that one didn't deploy it's parachute and came down point first and almost hit Sam.  The second time it didn't make it off the launch pad and we got to see the engine's second stage up close and personal.  All the other rockets launched fine and the kids got to chase them all over the field.

In the afternoon we went up hiking in the Sandias.  It was perfect weather, nice and cool and after we'd been out for a while the cloud cover cleared and we had some really nice views.  The kids had fun pushing the limits of what adults meant by stay away from the edge.

Tuesday evening we had our Independence Day celebration.  We held off since my brother was coming.  We started with a ton of fun summer food, meatball sliders, potato salad, other salads, watermelon, sodas, juice, and more.  It was our first time in four years or so that we were able to do fireworks around the Fourth (because of lack of rain) and we went all out.  We invited the neighbors over and had a very nice show.  I was busy lighting things on fire so we didn't get any pictures of that celebration.  Leia doesn't like loud noises and ended up inside before the show finished.  We grew up in California and it always amazes us the types of fireworks we can legally buy here.  We had all the cones and sparklers we usually start with but ended with a nice aerial show up above the yard with lots of loud booms.  It was a blast (literally).

Our guests had to leave the next morning which was sad, no matter how long family stays it never seems long enough.  It was a very nice visit though and we are going down to see them at the end of the month, it's been a while since we had family close enough to drive to in one day!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A day in the life...

June is here!  Break out the cigars!!!  What?  It's July you say?!  Maybe, but we're smokin' cigars because our new cousin and niece June is finally here!!!  Congratulations Stephanie and T!!!

Now on to our boring news...
The bulls are back! This bull fixed on Dallas as he snapped this picture.

Swimming pool!  Every day of the week since the beginning of June we've been at swim team, water polo, and swim lessons.  In other words we're at the pool almost 3 hours a day and then we have polo games at night and swim meets on the weekends.  I finally bit the bullet and decided to do this after dodging it for years.  With my kids going off to scout camps and such, they need to know how to swim.  I have actually really been enjoying it!  Plus the kids are worn out and we don't feel so bad not doing much the rest of the day.
Sam on right.  His teacher is showing them the breaststroke kick.
I also enjoy it because I get to talk with other moms from my Stake who are also there for hours. We sit out on the picnic tables and have a great time with our kids running around.  Lots of moms means lots of kids to play with for my kids.  The kids build homes with sticks and leaves, play in mud and puddles, draw chalk, do hair, etc.; just everything kids should do in the summer.  Tera has (almost)7 kiddos, Dion 7, Cathy 6, Me 5, Julie 5, Misty 4, Rachel 4, Erin 4, Nichole 3, and many other moms who come and go not as regularly.  It's so fun!

Now hear the tale of the scary hair that just kept getting bigger. See, I got 5 inches taken off my hair recently because it was split-endy, and for some reason my hair turned huge and out of control.  Like a giant pyramid. 

I don't like having to do a lot of work on my hair and  I was having to straighten it daily to not look like a back woods lunatic. That is so damaging and time consuming! What made me even more sad is that before I cut it a couple months back, I could just put a little gel into it after the shower and it turned out all wavy and gorgeous. Viola!

I don't know how a haircut can change so much but it ruined everything!  I miss my hair.  But waiting for it to grow 5 inches back when it was this full was torture.

On the 4th of July, we went to Wal-Mart to grab some things and I found out their hair salon was open so I marched in and asked the nice lady there to try to make it look more normal.  They did a pretty great job for $15.  I was glad they were open because when I let hair problems bother me for too long without doing something, then I take scissors to myself, and that never turns out well.  One time I even made Pat cut my hair.  Ha ha. (I'll post an after as soon as I have one- sorry!)

In better hair news, I finally figured out how to do a cute braid in Daisy's hair!  A young woman at Girl's Camp taught me how when she did it on my hair.  I was so thankful!  I love it and it's fast!

I had to laugh after church one day when there was such a cruel difference in the quality of our lunches.  I had just finished the last bite of my peanut butter sandwich when Pat sat down and began digging into his beautiful omelet with the works.  
I haven't felt much like cooking lately.  Can you tell?

My only good food thing to share recently is the beauty of the pasta salad that you can eat off of all week.  I like to put chicken in it and bacon bits or parmesian cheese any any veggies you like.  It's different every time I make it.